Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 15:00:29 -0700
From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Front Page News: Kerry Vows to Restore Trust; NRC vows to hide truth from the public

ront Page News: Kerry Vows to Restore Trust SHUT SAN ONOFRE!
August 9th, 2004
Russell D. Hoffman, Editor

1) Letter to the North County Times, August 9th, 2004 regarding Dry Cask Storage
2) NC Times: Activists not happy with nuclear security decision (August 6th, 2004):
3) NC Times: San Onofre gets annual safety report card (July 30th, 2004):
4) Fuel Assemblies:  Statistics (from Yucca Mountain government documentation):
5) LINK: 2003 Article by Robert Alverez et al on Spent Fuel Pool and Dry Cask Dangers
6) Some interesting facts about radiation
7) Some interesting facts about 747s
8) Three related articles seen in RADBULL recently
9) NY Times: Steam accident at PWR in Japan kills 5 workers, scalds 7
10) Rochelle Becker to speak in San Diego August 10th, 2004 regarding nuclear power
11) Newsletter authorship notes (go to bottom for "unsubscribe" details)

This newsletter will be posted online at the SHUT SAN ONOFRE web site:

1) Letter to the North County Times, August 9th, 2004 regarding Dry Cask Storage:

Date: August 9th 2004
To: North County Times -- Community Forum, et al
Re: Unscientific investigation, criminally negligent public service, corporate fraud

To The Editor:

Dry Cask Storage is the most dangerous idea to come out of the nuclear industry since "Atoms for Peace."  It MUST be stopped at San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station and everywhere else.  Each container -- indeed, each fuel rod in each container (of which there are thousands) -- holds enough deadly spent reactor fuel to force the permanent evacuation of all of Southern California.  A single pellet -- of which there are hundreds in each fuel rod -- could wipe out a small town, and make it uninhabitable for many generations to come.

Dry casks are even more dangerous than the spent fuel pools.  Of all the current choices, the fuel is the least hazardous when in a properly spaced and designed below-ground spent fuel pool.  It is far less safe -- perhaps by 3 or 4 orders of magnitude -- in the seriously overpacked spent fuel pools we use today, especially the ones that sit above ground, and even above some reactors.  Worse still is dry cask storage, which is a terrorist's delight -- the only thing worse is an operating nuclear reactor.  And the only thing worse than THAT, is another one right next to it, doubling the potential target area.

When the highly radioactive nuclear reactor cores (known as "spent fuel") are properly spaced out in a spent fuel pool, which is Olympic-sized or even larger, very deep, and the water is filtered and chemically treated, the risk of fire is substantially reduced compared to dry cask storage.  It's not "safe", but it's "safer."

In a fire, the zircalloy cladding on each uranium fuel pellet begins to crack at 600 degrees C, and combusts spontaneously above 900 degrees C.  Such temperatures are easily achieved in the fire following a large airplane crash.  (For comparison, most media reports indicate that the 9-11 fires that brought down the Twin Towers reached temperatures in excess of 1,500 degrees C.)

The used reactor cores must be stored in the spent fuel pools for many years before they can possibly be transferred to dry cask storage.  Five years is considered by most people to be the minimum, although the rule of thumb is the longer you wait, the safer the transfer operation and the safer the cask system.  But "safer" does not make it "safe."

The act of transferring the fuel is extremely hazardous (and San Onofre has a LONG HISTORY of crane accidents including while moving reactor core assemblies).

Both the dry casks and the spent fuel pools are OUTSIDE the containment domes.

NONE of the dry cask accident scenarios which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers "plausible" involve a significant breach of a cask -- only a tiny fraction of the NRC accident scenarios involve any leak whatsoever.

Yet, based on the NRC's own assertions, this is an unrealistic assumption (as I outline below).

A spent fuel accident, aka a used reactor core accident could cost trillions of dollars, in addition to the massive loss of life.  Dry cask storage is a "last resort" for the industry, which cannot find any way to dispose of the waste.


It is technically unfeasible and should not open, and it is stoutly opposed by citizens in the area and all elected Nevada representatives in Washington.  There are also serious and unanswered technical concerns about transporting the waste.  Transportation accidents have happened and will happen if the 100,000 to 1/4 million trips required to fill Yucca Mountain ever occur.  The government estimates that it would require well over 1,000 trips to move all of San Onofre's current stockpile of used reactor cores to Yucca Mountain (if it ever opens).  By the time it STARTS to be filled, if we don't shut the reactors down, it will be closer to 2,000 trips.  Accidents happen.

Even if Yucca Mountain does open  -- and this author believes it should not -- it's at least 15 years away (some say 12 or even 10 years, but 15 years is a more plausible estimate, assuming the unthinkable happens at all -- it opens).  And San Onofre is nowhere near first on the list for getting its fuel shipped there, anyway.  It could be 25 years before a single fuel rod is moved from our coast.

That leaves the waste WHERE for the foreseeable future?  Right here.  And if it's going to be here, it's safer in properly spaced spent fuel pools than in an operating reactor or a dry cask.  So that's where it ALL should be and we should stop making more.

We need to immediately invest in the many wondrous and much cleaner energy solutions which exist, such as offshore wind, wave, tide, and thermal current energy systems.  Even exotic-sounding things like jet-stream tethered turbines, space-based mirrors, global interconnects, small-user reverse metering, and so on are all technologically feasible RIGHT NOW -- but big money likes making more money the old-fashioned way:  They burn it.

San Onofre is a danger to the community and must be shut down  The waste needs to be neutralized as much as possible and the radioactive remainder carefully guarded for longer than any known civilization has ever existed.  The only alternative is that an accident -- or a terrorist event -- will happen.  Yucca Mountain or no Yucca Mountain.

Even if cost were no object at all, our choices would be slim and unattractive.  But cost being the overriding concern to the operators of the plant, they have chosen the least safe and least costly solution -- namely to keep operating the plant until an accident forces society to re-examine the issue, and they will use dry casks and public lies to make space for their ever-growing pile of highly carcinogenic waste.

Perhaps a "small" accident will wake the populace before "the big one" hits us.  Such an accident happened today in Japan -- 5 workers were killed in their worst-ever nuclear power plant accident, on the anniversary of the day 75,000 Japanese were killed by an atomic bomb during WWII.

Perhaps if that same accident had happened here instead, that might be enough to wake the populace, and get San Onofre shut down.  But instead people will probably barely even hear about it, despite the similarity in plant design and age.

Perhaps it will take a large accident like Chernobyl, which killed at least tens of thousands of people but probably it was hundreds of thousands of people -- and it keeps on killing.  These deaths are now mostly scattered around the world, and are completely uncounted by pro-nukers -- but they are dead people, just the same.  Victims of the nuclear lie.

What we are doing is madness.  The machinations of that madness were revealed to the citizens in microcosm last month at a Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in San Clemente, California, while most people were sleepily watching the Democratic National Convention reach its foregone conclusion.  The federal and other officials at the NRC meeting are abominations of democracy.  The plant operators are greedy, arrogant, secretive, and smug.  And the media covering this mess is docile, obedient, and will accept any answer, no matter how obviously absurd.  What a predicament for humanity -- for the people, who will pay the price after an accident for what we are doing now.

They/we will pay it in blood -- poisoned with leukemia.  In lung cancer, birth defects, and other ailments.  In costs and other burdens no one should have to bear.

Our foolishness may cost US nothing.  But it will cost SOMEBODY very dearly.

As I predicted after the July 28th, 2004 article in the North County Times announcing the San Onofre Nuclear WASTE Generating Station meeting the next day, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission got what they undoubtedly wanted: A nearly zero turnout at the "annual report card on safety" meeting.  It's sad that citizens have apparently given up on one of the most fundamental privileges of a free and open society -- access to those in power.  But maybe they are right:  Being there felt like an utter waste of time.

About half the people in attendance spoke in some official capacity -- about 12 people.  Only three citizens spoke, including my wife and myself.  I asked a short series of questions.  First, I asked about the dangers of airplane strikes on dry casks.  This question was reported in the North County Times' front-page article the next day (shown below) by Paul Sisson.

Before letting them pretend to answer that question, I asked each NRC official if he used sunscreen when he went out in the Southern California sun.  One replied no.  One replied that it was a personal question, but I told him it tells us something about his understanding of Low Level Radiation. One replied that he does when he goes to the beach.  I asked him why.  He said "so I don't get a sunburn."  (He later told me he uses SPF 15.)

Changing focus, I then asked the Southern California Edison representatives if they had seen the made-for-TV movie "MELTDOWN", which was shown on FX recently (the extraordinary movie graphically illustrates how vulnerable nuclear power plants really are; hopefully it will be shown again periodically).

None of the Southern California Edison representatives present said they had seen it, but on further questioning, two of the three admitted that they had heard of it.

I then asked the "audience" and the NRC officials if any of them had seen the movie.  Anyone in the room.  No hands.  Not a single government official in the room, which included representatives from Oceanside, Dana Point, San Clemente, Camp Pendleton, FEMA and elsewhere, raised their hand.  A movie which was technically extremely accurate, about potential terrorism at a nuclear power plant in Southern California, and yet NONE had seen it!

I asked how many in the room had at least heard of the movie.  About half the room "confessed" to having heard of it.

I then asked one more question.  I asked whoever would be willing to swear that they had told the truth at the meeting to raise their hand.

Two people -- neither of whom had spoken publicly -- raised their hand.  Not one NRC official, not one SCE representative, not one local government toadie, raised their hand.

Were they just afraid to admit they'd seen the movie, or were they hiding something more sinister?  Why should a citizen bother to show up at these "dog and pony shows" just to be lied to?

Unfortunately, none of this interchange -- which I find utterly disgusting, since I still have dreams that I am living in a democracy -- was reported in the subsequent article (shown below) by North County Times nuclear reporter Paul Sisson.  Instead, he reports the NRC and SCE responses to my initial question, telling us that the casks are calculated (NOT tested!) to be able to withstand a 4,000 pound car hurled at 125 miles per hour.

But shouldn't somebody do the math for the average citizen?  Because that's not nearly good enough.

A 747 weighs from about 800,000 to about 1.2 million pounds.  A car weighing two tons is therefore about 1/200th to 1/300th of that weight.  Let's call it 1/250th.

All other things being equal, an average-sized 747 would crash into a Dry Cask Storage system with about 250 times more force than the NRC's model two-ton car.

But other things are NOT equal.  For one thing, a 747 flies well in excess of 500 miles per hour, not 125 miles per hour.  Here's the equation for comparing the kinetic energy of two moving bodies:

Kinetic Energy = (1/2 * (mass *  (velocity * velocity)))

Using that equation, the kinetic energy of something traveling at 500 miles per hour is 16 times greater than the kinetic energy of the same thing traveling at 125 miles per hour, since the speed, which is squared, is 4 times greater.

When considering the greater physical size of a jumbo jet as compared to a car, the jet is far more likely to hit a large part of the dry cask farm instead of just one or two casks.  Also, the four turbine shafts on the 747's engines are far denser than anything on any car and would cut through the casks like butter -- like what we saw on 9-11.  Besides the massive turbine shafts, there is the sturdy main fuselage, often loaded with fuel itself, and bristling with dense pieces of electronics from nose to tail.

In sum, to get a "rule of thumb" to compare the NRC response to the suggested accident or terrorist action, you must multiply 250 times 16, which is 4,000.  In other words, the NRC response to my question, as given in the front page article shown below, really says: "NO, BUT IT CAN RESIST A FORCE 1/4000th AS GREAT, SO RELAX!"

It's just not in plain English.

But don't be fooled: You should NOT relax!

We are in grave danger!  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry lie to the American people, hoodwink the press by pretending to have answers when in fact they have NOTHING, and endanger all our lives by allowing San Onofre and other nuclear power plants to continue to generate ever-increasing piles of deadly and vulnerable nuclear waste.

If a 747 crashes into our new "dry cask farm" at San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station -- whether guided there by terrorists or fate -- 500,000 people -- perhaps many more -- could die in the first week -- gruesome, painful deaths.    These deaths would be scattered downwind from the accident -- well beyond any government evacuation zone.  These deaths are all preventable, but only if we act now.

In the event of a 9-11 style terrorist attack or an accident, one must not ignore the added effects of as much as 67,000 gallons of burning fuel to accelerate any damage.  But the NRC, SCE and NCT all ignore it!  Worse, if a dry cask fire starts for any reason, putting water on it might be the worst thing you could possibly do -- because it might cause a "criticality"!  (Sez who? See the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada, Department of Energy, Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, July, 1999, Volume II, Appendix K, Page 26.  One wonders if the plane crashing into the dry cask farm alone might not be enough to cause a criticality event.)

The local firemen who will be expected to lay their lives on the line to put out a dry cask fire probably don't know that.  Worse yet, they probably have no idea what a "criticality" accident is in the first place!

So how will citizens learn the truth about the senseless risks they are being subjected to?  And what should they do if they figure out they've been hoodwinked?

Would it do any good to write or call the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and demand that dry casks be made strong enough to withstand airplane strikes?

No, it wouldn't.  First of all, that's a nearly impossible request from an engineering point of view, but second of all, it's even more impossible when viewed from a real-world "cost-effective" engineering point of view.

In other words, citizens' safety is being compromised so that Southern California Edison can make money.

The public should be shown, through conscientious reporting by newspaper reporters across the country, that our nuclear regulators and the nuclear industry as a whole are living in a dream world, where radiation is harmless, accidents don't happen, terrorism doesn't exist, and truth is an abomination to be feared like the plague.

Mr. Golden, spokesperson for the nuclear power facility, told Mr. Sisson that the casks are between large buildings so they'd be safe (see article, below).  This is absolutely inaccurate hogwash.  Yes, from some directions, the domes from the two operating reactors are in the way -- but they are juicy targets of their own!  The casks are not between the domes, and they even tore down a protection they could have had if this were a real concern to them -- namely, the old dome for Unit 1.  They could have put some of the casks inside that old dome.  But now it's gone -- the containment dome for Unit 1 has been reduced to rubble with a wrecking crane and trucked away, or washed down the drain at levels "below regulatory concern" but sure to cause scattered cancers up and down the coast.  There are a few other buildings in the area, but nothing that could prevent an attack or accidental strike by a large airplane.

A couple of years ago I complained to the NRC that Mr. Golden lies to the public and to reporters.  They responded, in a registered letter, that: "Statements made by the public affairs officer of a NRC licensee are not regulated activities.  Therefore, the veracity of such statements will not be investigated by the NRC." (Letter from the NRC to Russell Hoffman, March 30th, 2002). The NRC clearly did a fine job of one thing at the recent meeting here -- namely, renewing the SCE license to lie to the public and to hold us hostage to an old and dangerous technology.

In other industries, lying to the public about the risks and dangers from your business can get you thrown in jail.  In the nuclear industry, it is sanctioned and acceptable behavior.


Russell Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

Please visit these web sites:

NEW!  POISON FIRE USA:  An animated history of major nuclear activities in the continental United States:

STOP CASSINI web site:

or try:

Internet Glossary of Nuclear Terminology / "The Demon Hot Atom":


List of every nuclear power plant in America, with history, activist orgs,
specs, etc.:

List of ~300 books and videos about nuclear issues in my collection
(donations welcome!):

Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here:

Selected Pump Animations with full frame control (by the same author):

2) NC Times: Activists not happy with nuclear security decision (August 6th, 2004):


Activists not happy with nuclear security decision

By: PAUL SISSON - Staff Writer

SAN ONOFRE ---- A decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop releasing information on security inadequacies and vulnerabilities at San Onofre and other nuclear power plants has raised the hackles of local and national anti-nuclear activists.

Russell Hoffman, an anti-nuclear activist and businessman from Carlsbad who challenged the commission on security concerns at its annual safety meeting on July 29 in San Clemente, said the decision to withhold information from the public will allow plant owners to hide serious security problems, rather than fixing them.

"Now they're going to hide behind the preposterous idea that they've done enough," Hoffman said.

At its first public meeting on plant safety since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the nuclear commission announced Tuesday it will no longer provide regularly updated security briefs on each of the nation's 103 nuclear reactors. The federal agency used to provide some security information on its Web site. However, that information tended to be vague.

A spokesman for the agency, Victor Dricks, said Thursday that safety information, including the results of inspections performed regularly at the plant, will still be released.

He said, for example, that if one of San Onofre's twin reactors was shut down because operators or inspectors detected a leak in its internal piping, that information would be made public. However, if the same reactor had a gaping hole in its perimeter fence, or if security guards were found to be sleeping on the job, that information would not be released, he said.

Dricks said the idea is to avoid alerting potential saboteurs of security lapses.

"The effort here is simply to limit the information that could be of assistance to terrorists," he said.

Paul Gunter, a spokesman for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, an anti-nuclear group in Washington, D.C., said Thursday that drawing a line between security and safety matters is not so easily done.

"Security and safety are virtually synonymous, and closing what are already closely guarded issues only has eroded the public's right to know," Gunter said.

He said limiting the public availability of security failures and vulnerabilities may eventually result in less public information on safety matters.

"This is a growing concern, as it probably begins an erosion of the public's right to know into safety issues as well," Gunter said.

Hoffman, who has studied nuclear energy issues for decades and has an extensive personal library of nuclear-related documents, said there is already too much security information in the open to put that particular genie back in the bottle.

"The terrorists must already know it if I already know it," he said.

Dricks said that restricting security information may only make the public more suspicious of nuclear operations in the United States, but that it's a necessary step in protecting the plants from terrorists.

"It's difficult to balance the public's right to know with safety and security," he said.

Contact staff writer Paul Sisson at (760) 901-4087 or

3) NC Times: San Onofre gets annual safety report card (July 30th, 2004):

Print Version:

Friday, July 30, 2004
Last modified Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:33 PM PDT

San Onofre gets annual safety report card

By: PAUL SISSON - Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE ---- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is safe, but a Carlsbad resident is not so sure.

The agency conducted its annual safety meeting in San Clemente on Thursday, reporting that inspections conducted at the plant from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2003, showed no significant indications that plant operators have let safety or security slide in operating San Onofre's twin 1,100 megawatt nuclear reactors.

But Russell Hoffman, an anti-nuclear activist from Carlsbad, wondered whether special storage devices called "dry casks" recently constructed at San Onofre are strong enough to survive a direct hit from an airplane.

"What about a 747, could it survive that?" he asked. "A DC-10, how about that?"

Victor Dricks, a regulatory commission spokesman, replied the special casks that hold highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel and their protective concrete storage bunkers "were not designed with an aircraft attack in mind."

The casks are designed to withstand a run-in with Mother Nature, Dricks said, adding testing has shown that the casks could survive a "4,000-pound automobile hurled by a hurricane at 125 miles per hour."

Ray Golden, spokesman for Southern California Edison, majority owner and operator of San Onofre, said the company has conducted tests of simulated airplane attacks at San Onofre in which the airplanes strike either of the plant's gigantic containment domes or nearby pools where highly-radioactive spent fuel is cooled before being transferred to the dry casks.

"We have a high level of confidence that it would survive a crash," Golden said based upon those tests.

Golden was unable to say whether Edison's crash analysis included an aircraft strike on the new dry cask storage area which was built last year and which is being filled with spent fuel from the plant's decommissioned Unit 1 reactor.

He said the storage facility is designed to withstand a "severe" earthquake. He added its location, nestled between other much larger buildings, would make a difficult target for a suicide pilot.

"It's designed to be very dense and very squat," he said.

The NRC performed an extra inspection at San Onofre in 2003 because the plant's Unit 2 reactor had more than four unplanned shutdowns in 2002. Dricks said the results of that extra inspection did not turn up any additional abnormal or potentially-dangerous conditions.

Clyde Osterholtz, senior resident inspector for the commission at San Onofre, noted that, while Unit 2 had only one unplanned shutdown in 2003, it has already had another in 2004. In April the reactor was shut down after an electrical glitch sidelined the plant's two main "feedwater" pumps which help keep the plant's main coolant loop cool.

Osterholtz said Unit 2 will receive an extra check this year as a result of the glitch.

Contact staff writer Paul Sisson at (760) 901-4087 or

4) Fuel Assemblies:  Statistics (from Yucca Mountain documentation):

Dry Casks contain about two dozen fuel assemblies.

Each fuel assembly contains about 208 fuel rods (typical), weighing about 1,200 lbs.

Each fuel rod contains several hundred fuel pellets, each clad in "zircalloy".

By paying close attention to the age of each fuel assembly, and mixing older and newer assemblies, it is possible to pack more of your total fuel payload from the spent fuel pool into the dry storage cask than otherwise.

5) 2003 Article by Robert Alverez et al on Spent Fuel Pool and Dry Cask Dangers:

Available at the Mothers For Peace web site:


(Note that this author does not endorse the conclusions of the above article, but finds the discussion extremely helpful. -- rdh)

6) Some interesting facts on radiation (from a recent Nuclear Policy Research Institute newsletter ( )):

Nuclear Numbers / Radiation / Some interesting facts on radiation:

Percent of the total radioactivity produced in the last 50 years that comes from the spent fuel of nuclear plant reactors: 95%

Number of times more radioactive fuel rods become after use than they were before use: 1 million

Number of radioactive emissions per minute in a "curie", the standard measure of radioactivity: 2,224,000,000,000

Range of the typical number of curies in natural radiation: 2 to 20

Average number of curies in a typical power reactor: 16 billion

Approximate number of Hiroshima-size bombs needed to produce 16 billion curies of radiation: 1,000

7) Max takeoff weight of a 747 is over 800,000 lbs.  Cruise speed is over 500 mph:

(The following is from a Boeing web server):

747 Fun Facts

A 747-400 has six million parts, half of which are fasteners.

A 747-400 has 171 miles (274 km) of wiring and 5 miles (8 km) of tubing.

A 747-400 consists of 147,000 pounds (66,150 kg) of high-strength aluminum.

The 747-400 has 16 main landing gear tires and two nose landing gear tires.

The 747-400 tail height is 63 feet 8 inches (19.4 m), equivalent to a six-story building.


The 747-400 wing weighs 95,000 pounds (43,090 kg), more than 30 times the weight of the first Boeing airplane, the 1916 B&W.

The 747-400 wing measures 5,600 square feet (524.9 m 2 ), an area large enough to hold 45 medium-sized automobiles.

Four World War I vintage JN4-D “Jenny” airplanes could be lined up on each of the Boeing 747 wings.

How much weight does an additional 6-foot (1.8-m) wingtip extension and winglet add to the 747-400 wing? None! A weight savings of approximately 5,000 pounds (2,270 kg) was achieved in the wing by using new aluminum alloys, which offset the weight increase of the wing tip extension and winglet

Engineering and Testing

Seventy-five thousand engineering drawings were used to produce the first 747.

The first 747 completed more than 15,000 hours of wind-tunnel testing.

The original 747 flight test program, which led to the airplane's certification for commercial service in December 1969, used five airplanes, lasted 10 months and required more than 1,500 hours of flying.


The 747 fleet has logged more than 35 billion statute miles (56 billion km) - enough to make 74,000 trips to the moon and back.

The 747 fleet has flown 3.5 billion people - the equivalent of more than half of the world's population.

The 747-400ER range is approximately 7,720 statute miles (14,297 km).

A 747-400 typically takes off at 180 mph (290 km/h), cruises at 565 mph (910 km/h) and lands at 160 mph (260 km/h).

For a typical international flight, one 747 operator uses about 5.5 tons (5,000 kg) of food supplies and more than 50,000 in-flight service items.


Engine thrust has grown from 43,500 pounds (19,730 kg) per engine on the early 747s to as much as 63,300 pounds (28,710 kg) on the current model.

The diameter of the 747 engine cowling is 8 feet 6 inches (2.6 m).


The 747-400ER can carry more than 63,500 gallons of fuel (240,370 L), making it possible to fly extremely long routes, such as Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia.

A 747-400 that flies 3,500 statute miles (5,630 km) and carries 126,000 pounds (56,700 kg) of fuel will consume an average of five gallons (19 L) per mile.

The 747-400 carries 3,300 gallons (12,490 L) of fuel in the horizontal (tail) stabilizer, allowing it to fly an additional 350 nautical miles.


The award-winning Boeing Signature Interior is available on both the 747-400 and 747-400ER.

At 31,285 cubic feet (876 cubic meters), the 747-400 has the largest passenger interior volume of any commercial airliner, which is equivalent to more than three houses each measuring 1,500 square feet (135 square meters).

The 747-400 has a redesigned “flexible” cabin interior that allows airlines to rearrange seats and class configuration overnight (in eight hours). They also permit 48-hour conversion times for changes in galley and lavatory locations.

Airline cargo handlers use the 747-400's lower-lobe cargo handling system to load or unload more than 65,000 pounds (30,000 kg) of cargo - the equivalent of 625 pieces of luggage combined with 20 tons of revenue freight - in less than 15 minutes.

The Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., could have been performed within the 150-foot (45-m) economy section of a 747-400.

There are 365 lights, gauges and switches in the new-technology 747-400 flight deck, reduced from 971 on earlier 747 models.

Also see:

8) The new NRC security policy will make the entire conversation reported in this newsletter impossible, which will help protect the public from the truth, but do nothing to prevent terrorism at our nuclear facilities.  Here are three related articles, as seen in RADBULL recently:
08/04/04 **** RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL) **** VOL 12.185


12 [NukeNet] NRC decides to withhold more security information

Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 18:40:48 -0700

Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, DC 20555-0001 E-mail:

No. 04-091 August 4, 2004


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined that certain security
information formerly included in the Reactor Oversight Process will no
longer be publicly available, and will no longer be updated on the
agency's web site.

"The Commission has a responsibility for public health and safety, and
that responsibility is evaluated in considering which information should
be made public," said NRC Chairman Nils Diaz. "We deliberated for many
months on finding the balance between the NRC's commitment to openness
and the concern that sensitive information might be misused by those who
wish us harm."

The NRC will continue to inspect and assess physical security of
nuclear facilities, but the results will no longer be made publicly
available and will be exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.
Enforcement information associated with physical protection of nuclear
facilities will be withheld as well. The NRC will continue to provide
these types of information to state officials, local law enforcement
agencies and other federal agencies.

For more information on the changes, contact Steven Stein at
301-415-0221 or Ronald Frahm at 301-415-2986.

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14 Guardian Unlimited: Nuclear Safety Lapses Won't Be Revealed

 From the Associated Press


Thursday August 5, 2004 1:01 AM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing a need to keep information from
terrorists, regulators said Wednesday the government will no
longer reveal security gaps discovered at nuclear power plants or
the subsequent enforcement actions taken against plant operators.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced the change in policy
during its first public meeting on power plant safety since the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It drew barbs from critics who
said the secrecy would erode public confidence in the agency.

Until now, the NRC has provided regular public updates on
vulnerabilities its inspectors found at the country's 103 nuclear
power reactors, such as broken fences or weaknesses in training

``We need to blacken some of our processes so that our
adversaries won't have that information,'' said Roy Zimmerman,
director of the commission's Office of Nuclear Security and
Incident Response, which was created after the attacks.

NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said commissioners voted to take the
step March 29, but kept it quiet as agency staff worked to
implement the plan. The vote itself was revealed Wednesday and
had nothing to do with this week's warnings that terrorists had
surveyed U.S. financial institutions, Burnell said.

``We deliberated for many months on finding the balance between
the NRC's commitment to openness and the concern that sensitive
information might be misused by those who wish us harm,''
commission Chairman Nils Diaz said in a written statement.

Michele Boyd, a lobbyist for the consumer group Public Citizen,
said the NRC had not struck that balance.

``The public has zero confidence in NRC and making this
information completely out of the public, not available, does not
bring any more confidence,'' Boyd told the commission.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a longtime critic of the nuclear
industry, said the policy will ``further deepen public skepticism
of the commission's performance and calls into question whether
the commission is doing what it must do to keep nuclear reactors
safe from terrorist attacks.''

Zimmerman of the NRC said the agency is considering providing
general information on security vulnerabilities that would not
include plant names or other details.

Protection at the nation's nuclear power reactors - located at 64
sites in 31 states - has been boosted since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Since then, the commission has been guarded about revealing
specifics of the security efforts.

That has not stopped accusations of inadequate guard training and
other security lapses.

Congressional investigations have found problems such as a guard
falling asleep on the job and falsification of security logs.
They also have noted other problems, such as guards being warned
of upcoming security exercises and inconsistent training from
site to site.

Nuclear activists expressed concerns at the meeting about the
adequacy of guard training, fire protection, the security of
pools containing spent nuclear fuel, and planning for different
kinds of attacks.

They also raised concerns about the agency's plans to allow the
security firm Wackenhut Corp. to run mock terrorist attacks on
the plants, nearly half of which are protected by Wackenhut
security guards.

``When you have Wackenhut test Wackenhut, nobody is going to
believe those results,'' said Peter Stockton, senior investigator
with the Project on Government Oversight, a research group.

NRC's Zimmerman said the agency would closely monitor the
exercises to make sure no information about the timing or methods
of the mock attacks is leaked to plant personnel.

In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, operators at the
nation's nuclear power plants posted more guards, added security
patrols and reduced access to the installations' most sensitive

Military planes at nearby bases stood ready to intercept any
suspicious aircraft; the Coast Guard patrolled the Great Lakes
near power plants to keep ships away; and many facilities
enlisted the help of National Guard troops.

Some critics say more needs to be done.

``The vulnerabilities at a lot of the reactors in this country
have not been addressed,'' said Jim Riccio, a nuclear policy
analyst for Greenpeace. ``Here we are nearly three years from the
attacks and I don't see anything they've done except extending
the perimeters of these facilities.''

The energy sector contributed $3.7 million, more than half of
which came directly from nuclear and electric power companies, to
Democrats during the 2004 election cycle. Republicans got $9.2
million from energy sources, including $2.7 million from power

On the Net:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
15 NRC: NRC Modifies Availability of Security Information for All
Nuclear Plants

News Release - 2004-09 U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Office
of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200 Washington, DC
20555-0001 E-mail: No. 04-091 August 4, 2004

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined that certain
security information formerly included in the Reactor Oversight
Process will no longer be publicly available, and will no longer
be updated on the agencys web site.

The Commission has a responsibility for public health and
safety, and that responsibility is evaluated in considering
which information should be made public, said NRC Chairman Nils
Diaz. We deliberated for many months on finding the balance
between the NRCs commitment to openness and the concern that
sensitive information might be misused by those who wish us

The NRC will continue to inspect and assess physical security of
nuclear facilities, but the results will no longer be made
publicly available and will be exempt from Freedom of
Information Act requests. Enforcement information associated
with physical protection of nuclear facilities will be withheld
as well. The NRC will continue to provide these types of
information to state officials, local law enforcement agencies
and other federal agencies.

For more information on the changes, contact Steven Stein at
301-415-0221 or Ronald Frahm at 301-415-2986.

Last revised Wednesday, August 04, 2004

9) NY Times: Steam accident at PWR in Japan kills 5 workers, scalds 7

(Note:  Due to leaks from the primary to the secondary coolant loop in all older PWRs, the claim that there is NO radiation involved is undoubtedly inaccurate industry hype.  The death toll from this accident is now five, not four as reported below. -- rdh)


Workers Killed in Accident at Japan Nuclear Power Plant

Published: August 9, 2004

Japan / Atomic Energy / Accidents and Safety

TOKYO, Aug. 9 ­ Blasts of non-radioactive steam killed four workers and severely burned seven others today in the first fatal accident at a Japanese nuclear power plant, according to officials.

"Radioactive materials weren't contained in the steam that leaked out," an official for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said at a news conference here. "We've received a report that there is no impact from radiation on the surrounding environment."

With no official concern over radioactive contamination from the 28-year-old plant, there was no evacuation from the nearby town of Mihama, home to 11,000 people on the Sea of Japan, about 40 miles north of Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital.

But the accident is likely to further shake confidence in nuclear power, just as high oil prices and the Iraq war are making nuclear power more attractive to economic planners.

With the world's third largest nuclear power industry, after the United States and France, Japan relies on nuclear power to generate almost a third of its electricity. Fifty-two nuclear power plants operate in the country.

Heavily dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, Japan has moved aggressively over the past year to work with Russia to develop oil and gas deposits in Siberia.

Plans to build more nuclear power plants in Japan have been slowed as public opinion has become increasingly wary of nuclear power, as evidenced by the number of towns in Japan that have held referendums and vote against building more nuclear plants.

Wariness has been fueled by accidents and by a culture of cover-up where employees have shown a far higher loyalty to their companies than to the public's right to know.

Last summer, the Tokyo Electric Power Company was forced to temporarily close all 17 of its nuclear power plants after admitting it had faked safety reports for more than a decade.

"After the Tepco scandal of two years ago, today's accident would accelerate people's worry and suspicion about the safety management of the nuclear power plants," Satoshi Fujino, a staffer at Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, a private nuclear power-watch organization, said in an interview today. "This plant is pretty old, and there are many plants even older."

Today's accident took place in the turbine building of the No. 3 nuclear reactor in Mihama, which was commissioned in November 1976 by the Kansai Electric Power Company.

In the accident, steam believed to measure about 200 degrees Centigrade, or nearly 390 degrees Fahrenheit, spewed into a room just after workers entered to take measurements before a scheduled maintenance shutdown, NHK television reported.

According to the Japanese nuclear safety official, who asked not be identified, it would be impossible for the leaked steam to contain radioactivity as the water in the steam turbines does not come into contact with water used as a coolant for the nuclear reactor.

Kansai Electric Power said it shut the 826,000-kilowatt nuclear generation unit at the facility and was unsure when it would restart.

"We are now investigating the cause," a Kansai Electric official said at a news conference.

"This incident will have no radiation effect on the surrounding environment," Kansai Electric Power said in statement. The company said that two other reactors in the Mihama complex, about 200 miles west of here, are operating normally.

Hiroshi Matsumura, managing director of Kansai Electric, apologized. "It is extremely regrettable," he said at a news conference. "To those who were injured and to the public, we apologize."

The accident took place on the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki in World War II, and political and industry leaders were quick today to assure that a thorough investigation would take place.

"I think we must do our best to investigate the cause, to prevent a repeat, and to implement safety measures," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters.

Takuya Ito, public relations director of the Federation of Electric Power Companies, worried in an interview that the accident could further dent popular trust in nuclear power, "because these are the first deaths from an accident in a nuclear power plant in operation."

The only other fatalities in the nuclear power industry took place in 1999, at a fuel-reprocessing plant in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo. A radiation leak killed two workers, exposed 600 people to low levels of radiation and led to the evacuation of thousands of local residents. That accident was caused by three workers who tried to save time by mixing excessive amounts of uranium in buckets instead of using special mechanized tanks.

It exposed more than 600 people to radiation and forced around 320,000 to shelter indoors for more than a day. Two of the workers who set off the disaster later died from their injuries.

More recently, in February, eight workers were exposed to low-level radiation at another power plant when they were accidentally sprayed with contaminated water. The doses were not considered dangerous.


10) Rochelle Becker to speak in San Diego regarding nuclear power:

Peace and Women’s Events­August/September 2004

10 August: “No Place to Run? Dangers of Nuclear Power and What We Can Do About It” with Rochelle Becker, presented by the Peace and Democracy and Environmental Task Forces, First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4190 Front Street, Hillcrest. Free. Questions: 858.459.4650.

Note: Rochelle Becker introduced herself to this author a few years ago.  She is apparently an expert in teaching people how to fill out a 2.206 petition, which is the official way to complain to the NRC.  With all due respect, I'm sure the NRC greatly appreciates her efforts.  A time was not given in the announcement, a crucial -- perhaps one should say critical -- error (with all due respect).  Her email address is:

"Rochelle Becker" <>

 -- rdh

11) Newsletter authorship notes:

This email was constructed by Russell Hoffman from 100% recyclable electrons.