From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: EPA Responsibilities to stop 1,000,000 deaths at San Onofre
Cc: email@example.com, governor of California, California Senators
January 14th, 2002
Dear Ms Shields,
Regarding your letter (shown below), perhaps as you suggest, some people are confused about EPA's role. I do not believe I am.
You've cited a reference, "Radiation Protection at EPA: The First 30 Years". Can you tell me which paragraph, citation, etc.. refers specifically to the matters I wrote about? Can't you at least tell me where this "excellent reference" is located online? Because I don't see how a document with a title of "Radiation Protection at EPA: The First 30 Years" can possibly answer my very specific and damning comments about the problems with "radiation protection" at the NRC, because such a document is obviously a review of the past thirty years at EPA, and therefore, is not the historic proof that EPA has the right -- indeed, in your eyes, it would appear to have the OBLIGATION -- to ignore human health issues no matter how urgent, as long as it's due to radiation from "nuclear power plants".
Does that obligation to ignore the dangers extend to include every facility related in any way to the operation of those nuclear power plants, such as mining, fuel processing, etc. etc.. Why are NPPs specifically excluded? What makes them different in EPA's (myopic) view? Does the obligation to ignore the dangers include ignoring all dangers from nuclear weapons, which are made from the spent fuel from nuclear power plants and can be accidentally dispersed, lost, stolen, used as dirty bombs, etc. etc.? If our wars occurred on other planets, then maybe you could exclude these things. But they don't, they occur right here on Earth. In our Environment which EPA is charged to protect.
Terrorists have threatened our nuclear power plants time and again, and unless we SHUT THE PLANTS DOWN and secure the waste, one of these groups of terrorists will eventually carry out that awful threat.
Even a single well-armed individual could kill millions by simply tossing a grenade into a Spent Fuel Pool.
And how will they die? Cancer, leukemia, birth defects. Will you then still be saying it was not EPA's responsibility to help America switch to clean, renewable technologies before such an accident happened?
What good will that stand do the people who could have been helped?
Your letter is hardly even an answer to my letter. It does not answer the specific charge that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has failed to do its job and that therefore, (and if for no other reason, since there are many valid reasons) EPA must begin to concern itself with the nuclear issues of -- to be brief about a very complex issue -- SHUTTING THE PLANTS DOWN IMMEDIATELY. And if what you say is true that EPA has successfully washed their bloody hands of all responsibilities at NPPs, then can you show me any other instance of such an abdication?
If you can't, then can you explain what makes NPPs so special that they should receive this gift of EPA blindness?
I have tried to seek justice on the issues I've learned about through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I've talked to them. I've been lied to by them. I've "cc'd" them practically every related email I've sent out (including this one). Has anyone from NRC contacted you in any way regarding my letters to EPA?
I've discussed my attempts to seek justice through the NRC in my previous letter to you. I can now add another useless letter from the NRC, saying, by reason of exclusion, that they aren't concerned about anything at San Onofre or any other nuclear power plant which I have tried to warn them about. Oh, there was one thing they were worried about: A list of plant locations to six decimal places, which they had posted online for many years. It seems they don't want me to post that information. But other than that, they've got no answers to any of my concerns. You can see that letter and my response here:
NRC cannot be expected to do the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION America needs. They've failed to do so time and again. No "agreement" or assignment of any responsibilities to them would have any validity or legal standing whatsoever, because they are a rogue commission within the United States Government.
Nor can the NRC be expected to seek RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLUTIONS, which is the only long-term way to make America strong. Rather than seek a switch to renewable energy, NRC actively blocks that switch in a variety of ways, including failure to keep up with the latest comparative studies of, say, wind versus nuclear costs. After that failure, they fail at every other step, as well, and thus the nukes remain running despite 9-11 and despite millions of citizens over the past half century, who have seen the problem and are up-in-arms about it.
Nor can the NRC be expected to respond to the pleas of concerned citizens in any meaningful way, because they have so amply proven they will not do so. Is EPA now proving it as well?
I hope you will begin to take up at least that challenge (of answering a citizen's earnest questions), even if protecting the public from the Nuclear Mafia is beyond -- in your perception -- your responsibilities (remember, though, and consider yourself cautioned on this issue, that: "Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law".)
Since my previous letter to you, a madman was caught with about 300 assault weapons, 5,000 rounds of ammunition, four grenades, an anti-tank rocket launcher, tear gas, and other accoutrements which he THREATENED to use against San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and his former coworkers. He had been fired from the plant in December of last year (2001) after working at the plant since 1998 when he was rehired after having been fired in 1995 (at which time he, thankfully, also lost his access to the nuclear area). He was originally hired at San Onofre in 1984. He obviously loved to be at that plant, except when he was collecting guns and ammo.
He was not caught by the additional in-depth background checks the plants have supposedly been doing since 9-11, which might have showed that he hung out with a dangerous crowd, or that he collected large multitudes of high-powered weapons, etc. etc.. But no, he slipped under all those controls and simply tipped his own hand by making verbal threats against the employees, who were scared for their own lives. Will we always be so lucky?
This was no joke, yet still the NRC not only does essentially nothing, they go so far as to allow the spokesperson for San Onofre to claim on national television, without admonishment or correction, that the nuclear plant is capable of withstanding such an attacker. It cannot, and the preposterousness of that statement, made with the madman's arsenal actually laid out before the speaker (Ray Golden, a professional liar with a golden tongue) would be laughable if it wasn't so threatening.
My life is threatened not so much by the madman with the arsenal of weapons, as by the idiot spokesperson and the company HE keeps. Madmen will come and go, but the OPPORTUNITY persists only if we let it. Want more proof the NRC isn't doing its job? You could start by reading the letters your first letter to me noted EPA's receiving.
The NRC's "design basis threat", in which the plants are supposed to occasionally pass a simulated test against (and which they often fail at) is three lightly armed attackers. THAT'S IT.
Yet despite this, all you can say to me is that "People are often confused about EPA's role."? I know EPA stands for ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. I know that EPA is NOT subservient to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They only have an agreement with the NRC, grandfathered in from a previous letter of understanding or memorandum or executive order or whatever from the Atomic Energy Commission.
But such a piece of paper is worthless if the NRC doesn't do its job properly. Check your own fine print on this. Check the Constitution, which describes the purpose of government. Check your history books on what happens when one branch of government goes nuts and threatens to do things which will harm the rest of the country. NRC is as rogue an agency as America has ever seen. NRC must be dismantled and its authority spread out among multiple federal, state, and local agencies so that NRC's original function is properly carried out and overseen by other agencies. The checks and balances are missing, and that's what needs to be fixed. This should be obvious to you by now, because you can't possibly show me a ruling which violates the basic tenets on which government is founded, Ms Shields. You can't do it.
Please go back and do your homework a little better this time before responding to my letter. That incident with the former worker at San Onofre threatening to shoot up the place and his coworkers alone should remind you that your job is PROTECTION, not cleaning up the mess later.
1,000,000 deaths will not be surprising if San Onofre melts down, (including mine, since I live only a few dozen miles away). Most other nuclear plants are equally capable of killing millions because generally they were built near large population centers.
To the extent that your flip and insulting answer satisfies you and your superiors at EPA as a response to my plea for help in changing American policy towards renewable energy, those deaths will be on your hands.
If you do want to insult me again in the future, please simply come out with it and don't talk about other "people" as if what other people might get wrong in any way reflects on what I might be getting wrong, if anything. Perhaps it is you who are getting things wrong. Don't forget that.
Below is your letter to me from this morning, and below that, my letter to Dustin Johnston which I was working on when your letter arrived, and his letter to you from last week which I presume you received separately as well. Below that is a brief note from Jack Shannon, just received here this afternoon.
I await your urgent and forthright response.
At 08:16 AM 1/14/02 , Glenna Shields <Shields.Glenna@epamail.epa.gov> wrote:
Dear Mr. Hoffman:
People are often confused about EPA's role. EPA has the authority under
the Atomic Energy Act to develop generally applicable standards for
radiation protection. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission develops
specific standards for civilian nuclear power plants.
An excellent reference is "Radiation Protection at EPA: The First 30
Years." I hope this will help clarify our role.
[[[ Note: Ms. Shields' letter f 1/14/02 included the previous correspondence, which is available online here:
-- rdh ]]]
Re: [CAPPcoord] What stance does the EPA have?
January 13th, 2002
Hi Dustin, all,
I sure hope Ms Shields notices your letter, Dustin -- thanks!
Recently, I passed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on the highway. There were no visible armies guarding the plant. I hope there were invisible ones but I doubt it.
I was talking to my mom via cell phone at the time. The conversation went on for a few seconds, and then I got off the phone and, without having said a word about it to her (it would have taken time, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do), I called 911 after a brief hesitation. I might have paused for about two seconds after I got off the phone. Why did I call? Why did I hesitate? What did I consider almost a triviality, but then important enough to call 911 about?
Well, there was a truck parked directly under the power lines that come from the plant, on the opposite side of the highway from San Onofre (that is, on the right-hand shoulder of the Northbound side). Here's basically what I said, paraphrased from memory:
"Hi, I'm driving northbound on I-5 and I just passed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and there's a tractor-trailer truck parked on the side of the road with its lights off, directly opposite the plant, just precisely under the wires, the high tension cables that come from the plant -- under the electrical power lines. That doesn't seem like a good place to allow vehicles to be stopped and I think someone should check him out and have him move his vehicle."
She thanked me and we hung up.
Between getting off the phone with my mom, and calling 911, I thought about what would happen if that truck actually did hold a bunch of terrorists -- or one guy with an anti-tank rocket launcher, hundreds of automatic weapons, 5,000 rounds of ammunition, a death wish, and an attitude of hatred against his target. Anything like that could level that plant, or crack open its containment dome, or bombard the spent fuel pool until it explodes in a hell-fire of death for hundreds of miles around and for hundreds or thousands of years into the future. One madman, such as we've seen, can do all that before anyone could possibly get there, even by helicopter from Camp Pendleton (the Marine Base where the plant is actually located). Maybe, just maybe, Camp Pendleton has a spotter on site at the plant at all times that no one is telling the public about, who can call in cruise missiles on any target that might attack the plant. Yeah, right. There's no such person at any plant in the country! But even if there were, would you really want a cruise missile, or a supersonic bomber, attacking anything anywhere near a nuclear power plant?
As far as I can ascertain, more civilians have already died from errant missiles and bombs in Afghanistan -- I'm not talking about when we target something we think should be blown up and it turns out it was a school or a Mosque or something, I'm just talking about stuff that missed its intended target -- than the number of civilians who died on 9-11.
So how close to San Onofre would you be willing to call in an attack, if a truck were parked near the plant and you could call in live fire from the military base a few miles away, or from an airplane? The real answer is that you need defensive positions that are designed in advance, and built in such a way that you cannot fire towards the plant from the defensive positions. If your attackers get past you and are now between you and the power plant itself, or in the power plant, you have to switch to bullets that are less likely to destroy the equipment you are fighting around, although your attacker(s) will still be using their deadly weapons, of course. But you can't because you, theoretically, have been educated about the hazards of accidentally shooting at the plant itself, and since no one is perfect, you have to use less powerful weapons unless it's deemed such an emergency that you have to risk using, say, grenades in the control room of the reactor. Things are pretty bad at that moment.
The paperwork alone which would follow the use of deadly force inside the perimeter of a nuclear power plant is frightening enough, but the point is that this is very likely to be an exercise in futility. Millions will die, and it won't much matter if it was due to the weapons fired by the attackers or the defenders which blew up the plant. It has to all be carefully thought out beforehand, and it hasn't been.
In the heat of battle, people have been known to shoot off the wings of their own plane from the belly gun of a B-17, with the obvious disastrous result of the loss of one plane. However, if "friendly fire" took out San Onofre, we've got a much bigger problem than the loss of one plane. Of course, if that plane crashed into San Onofre, it's a dead heat.
Last year San Onofre had an explosion in the switchyard which sent glass shards past a local road, a rail line, and onto the highway I was traveling on. So I saw no reason to add more hazards to the list of vulnerabilities. Even if this truck just innocently caught fire, it had the potential for playing a vital "weak link" or "last straw" in a sequence which could end in disaster for Southern California. So having had all these ideas pass through my brain, I called 911 and reported the vehicle. I did not double back to see if the State Police had done their job. I assumed they had.
On the way back, a few days later, I passed San Onofre again. There were no vehicles parked near it. On the Southbound side, near the plant, the stretch of highway by the plant actually was a place where truckers would pull off, and sleep prior to 9-11. I don't know when they were put up, but there are now small sawhorses every 200 feet or so, which indicate, without drawing too much attention to it, that this area is not to be used that way anymore.
On the Southbound side, it's a distance of less than 100 feet from the perimeter fence at San Onofre, and only a little bit further to the plant's vital parts. It's hard to miss.
We've got to close San Onofre today, before it kills us. If that happens, it would be silly, at that point, to blame the terrorists. The bureaucrats will be at fault, because the terrorists have already warned us time and time again that they are coming.
Below is a letter by Dustin Johnston to the EPA:
At 09:15 AM 1/13/02 , you wrote:
Hi Glenda Shields,
I took the time to read this about nuclear power and I stand behind what is
written. The EPA needs to step up to the mike hear and voice itīs opinion
and authority. I know u are busy,but please take your time and read this.
Also check out this link
Iīm sure Russell would allow u to use it or even modify it. The mission of
the EPA is being ridiculed by the NRC,power co, and those stock holders who
only care about $$$$$. If u cannot help in the EPA then who.
DOT,NRC,energy commission and those u list cannot be trusted. The EPA should
flex their power; the public will support u. The EPA could help the
environment sustantially by pushing for greener technologies. This would
save the environment on many levels. Please help! Our childrensī lives and
our future depends on doing what is right. Stop nuke energy and further
[ The letter sent to Glennda Shields at the EPA is available here:
Subject: Re: [CAPPcoord] What stance does the EPA have?
The EPA doesn't care.
Right now I'm in a battle with the EPA to place a radioactive landfill and
they keep writing letters that only show that they are interested in
protecting the DOE.