Connecticut, my birthplace, is at extreme risk from nuclear terrorism (November 18th, 2001)
To: Peter Urban, Connecticut Post <email@example.com>
From: Russell Hoffman Concerned Citizen and former resident of CT
Subject: Connecticut, my birthplace, is at extreme risk from nuclear terrorism
Date: November 18th, 2001
I lived in Connecticut for about 35 years, and was born there. It's GOOD to see some discussion of the dangers of nuclear power plants published in your article in the Connecticut Post.
Some of us had been warning about these dangers for years and years! If you have the capability to go back through old Bridgeport Post's, for instance, you'll find some letters of mine about the need to shut the nukes down from as far back as the 70's (some quotes from some of those letters are shown below).
For the past ten years I have lived in California, where we have a particularly old and dangerous nuclear power facility called San Onofre Nuclear (Waste) Generating Station. I invite you to check out my web site about San Onofre:
Nearly all the arguments against San Onofre (that it's old and decrepit, improperly managed, an accident waiting to happen, unresponsive to citizen complaints, etc.) would apply to any nuclear power plant, I'm sure.
Here is a list of "25 simple ways to destroy a nuclear power plant and cause a meltdown which would kill tens of thousands of people and destroy property values for hundreds of millennia":
The web site also includes extensive discussion of why a document outlining possible terrorist attacks needs to be posted, despite any risk it might pose that terrorists will read it and government officials won't.
Also at the web site are comments from metallurgists, nuclear physicists, doctors, etc.., showing the indisputable truth about nuclear power -- it's a deadly dinosaur.
Renewable energy can replace our nuclear power plants, and here's an essay about that, too:
Thank you in advance for your attention.
Carlsbad, CA (full personal contact information appears at the very bottom of this letter)
(Formerly of Bridgeport, Easton, Westport, Stratford, Stamford, Storrs, and other towns and cities in Connecticut)
P.S. Anyone who tells you the risk only goes out 10 miles beyond the plant's perimeter after an accident is either insane, lying, or stupid!
In a letter to the late Governor Ella T. Grasso (Connecticut), approximately 1979, I wrote, "Nuclear energy is too risky. Bombs can be made from the atomic waste. If you turn the right knob the wrong way, you can get a meltdown. An airplane crashed into a containment building can also cause a meltdown and (obviously) a breach of the containment building."
In a letter to the Bridgeport Post, published on 6/2/79, I included the following quote: "American nuke plants are not protected from a crashing jet (Nat. Enquirer, 5/1/79)." (Who ever would have guessed the Nat. Enquirer would be more than 20 years ahead of the major media on anything?)
Nuke plant terror feared
By PETER URBAN
WASHINGTON -- A terrorist air attack against a
nuclear power plant in New York or Connecticut
would likely decimate Bridgeport and the rest of
Fairfield County, environmental activists in the
two states fear.
However, the nuclear power industry argues that a
Chernobyl-style meltdown in this country is
improbable. Power plants are designed to withstand
earthquakes and other natural disasters and their
reinforced containment domes would be difficult to
penetrate -- even with a jet, industry spokesmen
Nevertheless, the activist groups, Connecticut
Coalition Against Millstone and New York's
Riverkeeper Inc., have petitioned the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission to consider the dangers
posed by a possible terrorist attack on Millstone
in Waterford and Indian Point in Westchester
County. Bridgeport is 40 miles east of Indian
Point and 50 miles west of Millstone.
"The consequences of flying a plane into Millstone
are potentially far, far more catastrophic than
Chernobyl," said Nancy Burton, an attorney
representing the Connecticut Coalition Against
"It would probably devastate the state of
Connecticut times five."
Karl Coplan, an attorney for Riverkeeper, said the
Bridgeport area faces a greater potential threat
from Indian Point because prevailing winds would
likely drive any plume of radiation right into the
"It is certainly not out of the question that
Bridgeport could be rendered uninhabitable,"
But Tom Randall, director of environmental and
regulatory affairs at the National Center for
Public Policy Research's Chicago office, said that
such fears are unfounded.
"Even if a 757 airliner hit, as unlikely as that
is in the case of a relatively low-lying building,
it would probably not penetrate the containment
vessel, and even if it did, the reactor vessel
would still be intact," he said.
The environmentalists point out that the NRC's own
actions and those of the nuclear power industry
demonstrate that a terrorist attack is now a
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard A.
Meserve has said that a top-to-bottom evaluation
of nuclear plant security is under way at the
nation's 103 nuclear power plants.
Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the NRC
notified plant operators that they should place
power plants on the "highest state of alert,"
including increased patrols. Governors from 13 of
the 38 states that have nuclear power plants have
ordered the National Guard to patrol the
facilities -- including New York and Connecticut.
However, just last week, Connecticut began
reducing the number of National Guard troops
protecting the Millstone nuclear power plants, as
the number of private security guards was
Nuclear power plant operators have upped the
number of their own armed guards, added physical
barriers, and generally toughened security in the
wake of Sept. 11, according to Lynnette Hendricks,
director of licensing for the Nuclear Energy
Institute, the industry's trade association.
The NRC has also shut down its Web site, citing
national security concerns. Dominion Nuclear
Connecticut Inc. has also asked the Connecticut
Coalition Against Millstone to remove an aerial
photograph of their plant from the coalition Web
The concerns over nuclear reactor safety, however,
pale in comparison to the far more vulnerable and
potentially more lethal spent-fuel containment
pools at each nuclear power plant, the
"The dirty little secret of Indian Point and other
nuclear power plants is that the greatest risk is
the spent-fuel pools. There is far and away more
radioactive material stored away as there is in
the reactors," said Alex Matthiessen, executive
director of Riverkeeper Inc. The organization was
founded 35 years ago to protect the ecological
integrity of the Hudson River and safeguard the
drinking water supply for New York City and
At Indian Point, Millstone and Connecticut Yankee
in Haddam Neck, there are hundreds of spent-fuel
rod assemblies stored in containment pools. A
failure of the water-cooling systems could lead to
a fire that would release the same radioactive
isotope that did so much damage around Chernobyl
in 1986, only in much greater quantities, the
The Russian nuclear power plant accident released
about 27 kilograms of cesium-137 into the
atmosphere. The Millstone Unit 3 containment pool
currently holds 350 kilograms of the isotope. A
release of that much cesium-137 would render about
75,000 square kilometers of land uninhabitable an
area roughly six times as large as Connecticut,
according to Gordon Thompson, executive director
of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies
in Cambridge, Mass.
"A pool fire at Millstone Unit 3 would be a
regional and national disaster of historic
proportions," said Thompson, who was hired by the
Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone as an
expert witness to appear before the NRC.
Matthiessen said that Thompson has also been hired
by his organization to conduct a similar analysis
of Indian Point's spent-fuel storage pools.
Matthiessen believes that the storage pools
probably contain as much cesium-137 as Millstone,
given that the Indian Point reactor has been
operating for more than 30 years.
Randall said that fuel storage facilities are
protected by the same security force as the rest
of the plant, are not easily spotted by air, and
are designed to withstand earthquakes and other
"Specifically, they will remain intact and prevent
a release of radiation even if they are thrust off
of the ground and bounce back down," Randall said.
Riverkeeper has petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission to temporarily shut down the Indian
Point reactor, located 24 miles north of New York
City in Buchanan, N.Y., until new anti-terrorist
security measures are adopted that can protect the
plant and its storage pools for spent fuel rods.
"Indian Point is not currently equipped to defend
itself, nor the 20 million people who reside and
work within a 50-mile radius of the plant, against
an attack of the scale, sophistication and
coordination demonstrated on Sept. 11,"
Riverkeeper would also like the NRC to consider
having Indian Point converted to a conventional
fuel power plant or taken completely off line.
They also favor converting the spent-fuel storage
pools to a system that would be less likely to
fail, Matthiessen said.
Riverkeeper also is asking that Entergy Inc., the
owner of Indian Point, obtain from the Federal
Aviation Administration a permanent no-fly zone in
the air space within 10 nautical miles of its
Indian Point facility.
NRC has also received a petition from the
Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone to block
the owner of Millstone from moving forward with
plans to double its storage capacity for spent
Burton said that the petition would "put it in the
face of the NRC" that spent-fuel pools are
vulnerable to terrorist attack.
"The workers at Millstone and Connecticut Yankee
and the 100,000 people who live within 10 miles of
these nuclear facilities are at risk," Burton
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First posted November 18th, 2001.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman